Anecdotal accounts of battle rifle power


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ChronoCube
April 8, 2010, 01:16 PM
What do we know about the effect of full power FMJ rifle rounds used in WW2, etc? For example, .30-06, .303 British, 8mm Mauser. Exactly what effect did these rounds have when they hit an enemy, according to anecdotal accounts? How effective were they at stopping an enemy in one shot?

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LRS_Ranger
April 8, 2010, 01:25 PM
I remember reading in one of my sniper history books that when they changed from black powder to modern cartrages such as the 8mm and -06, the damage was discribed as "explosive". Very often it was hard for the surgeon to patch someone up because the wound was more of violently torn cavity rather than just a hole. Maybe when I go home this weekend I will have time to look up the quote. As I remember though, they were VERY distructive. (as we know from ballistic gel and hunting with these old military rounds)

DMK
April 8, 2010, 03:31 PM
I remember reading a story in the NRA's American Rifleman about a British sniper with an Enfield in Korea. He was on one mountain, shooting across a valley to the next mountain where the communist soldiers had an artillery observation post. Every time he saw someone moving to or from the OP, he'd take a shot. However, it appeared that they ducked behind the rocks and a little while later he'd see activity again. He was getting frustrated that he was not getting hits. A few days later when they took the other hill, he walked down to the OP to see what it looked like from that end. Down the ridge from there he could see a pile of about a dozen bodies. He then realized that he dropped every soldier with a single shot and they tumbled down the hill. It wasn't the same guys he saw popping up later, the communists had kept sending more to replace the ones he killed.

bigwinchesterfan
April 8, 2010, 03:57 PM
Here in Mexico, itīs been said that Pancho Villa alligned his enemys for execution one behind the other very closely, in lines up to three persons, then he shot the front one in the chest with a 7mm Mauser rifle, so that the three of them died with a single bullet...

Iīm not quite sure of the caliber, but itīs been said he did so... :D

Glad to be here. :p

SlamFire1
April 8, 2010, 03:59 PM
I met one Korean War veteran who did not know that he had a 7.62 X 54R bullet in him, till years later the Doctor pointed it out on X-Ray. The veteran had a pain, got an X-Ray, and there it was.

Of all the WW1 and WW2 personnel accounts I have read, full powered FMJ rounds were effective. The lethality of course depended on what was hit, but people hit with the things generally stopped their hostile activities, even if wounded.

I have never read any WW1 or WW2 accounts complaining that contemporary rounds were ineffective. If people were wounded instead of instantly dying, it was considered their good luck.

However, in the transition between the 450 Martini Henry and the 303 British, complaints from the field did surface. The big lead martini henry bullets were considered better man stoppers than the smaller FMJ.

I have a pre WW1 book written by Thompson and Laguardi on wounds. In that book they make the statement that Civil War mini balls caused more severe wounds than the FMJ of that period.

I can believe that. I was shooting my 577 musket at the range while some buds were shooting their .223 and 308 at some bowling pins. The pins were hanging from strings from the target crossbars. The distance was 100 yards. You could not tell from the reaction of the pins when they were hit with .223 FMJ. The pins jiggled a little bit when hit with 308 FMJ. My buds hollered at me to hit one with the musket. I did. My Minie ball swung the bowling pin once around the crossbar. While this is a totally unscientific analysis of stopping power, it still made an impression on all of us. Those big, heavy, chunks of soft lead appear to hit things all out of proportion to their kinetic energy.

Ohio Gun Guy
April 8, 2010, 04:03 PM
Your musket ball transfered all of its energy, the more modern rounds penetrate and create that nasty wound cavity.

ChronoCube
April 8, 2010, 04:09 PM
Thanks for the info.

Here in Mexico, itīs been said that Pancho Villa alligned his enemys for execution one behind the other very closely, in lines up to three persons, then he shot the front one in the chest with a 7mm Mauser rifle, so that the three of them died with a single bullet...

This isn't exactly the sort of tale that I was looking for. It's at close range where the executioner can carefully choose where to put a bullet. But at combat ranges, you might not be able to be so precise.

MK11
April 8, 2010, 04:30 PM
This is more current but in a recent History Channel program (Modern Sniper?) they interview a Marine sniper in Iraq who score 30+ kills in Fallujah (getting him removed from the area became part of the negotiation after the battle).

He mentioned that the 7.62 was more effective at longer ranges because it slowed down and dumped more energy into the target. At closer ranges it just punched through and some of the terrorists stayed active for a little bit.

Mp7
April 8, 2010, 04:48 PM
my granpa told me he always shot his heavymortars over the hill.
He didnt get involved with bullets in Norway or Russia.

Got a free public transport ticket for
some artillery shrapnell in his back though.

:)

He told me that the Norwegians had only S&W service revolvers
when they parachuted on an airbase in the unprepared north.
They did not fire, he said. As too many Mp40, K98 wielding
soldiers rained down.

He had never flown, and never practiced airdrop obviously.

My Grandpa died at the age of 84.
He never boarded a plane again.

351 WINCHESTER
April 8, 2010, 04:56 PM
The .303 in it's mk VII loading tumbles when it hit flesh. The forward part of the bullet was filled with alum. or wood and would upset upon hitting flesh. It was a long bullet so one can assume that it did a lot of damage.

Z-Michigan
April 8, 2010, 05:33 PM
Most of the full-power .30-32 cal rifle bullets tumble. Although the .308 British was specifically designed for that and probably tumbled the most.

I think the big thing is that
Of all the WW1 and WW2 personnel accounts I have read, full powered FMJ rounds were effective. The lethality of course depended on what was hit, but people hit with the things generally stopped their hostile activities, even if wounded.

I have never read any WW1 or WW2 accounts complaining that contemporary rounds were ineffective. If people were wounded instead of instantly dying, it was considered their good luck.


I don't know exactly how lethal they are, but I sure wouldn't want to be bit with one. This applies to any bullet, of course, but there are enough reports of limited effectiveness with 5.56 and 7.62x39 to make it appear that the twice-as-powerful battle rifle rounds are in fact more effective.

desidog
April 9, 2010, 11:52 AM
In that book they make the statement that Civil War mini balls caused more severe wounds than the FMJ of that period.

Mini balls definitely caused more severe wounds, since there were no FMJ's in that period....unless you meant cannonballs or arty-shells!

SlamFire1
April 9, 2010, 07:57 PM
In that book they make the statement that Civil War mini balls caused more severe wounds than the FMJ of that period.

Mini balls definitely caused more severe wounds, since there were no FMJ's in that period....unless you meant cannonballs or arty-shells!


The book is "Gunshot Injuries" by LaGarde. Originally published 1916, republished 1991. Modern forward by Martin Fackler MD.

I am a poor writer and a worse editor. I meant the FMJ of 1914 compared to minie balls of 1862. There were plenty of CW veterans still alive in 1914.

On page 181 is one of the most horrific pictures of a suicide I have ever seen. It is of Patrick Dolan, Co K, 27th US Infantry, who shot himself 13 Nov 1911. He put the muzzle of a 30-06 150 FMJ rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

What is left does not look like a head, rather a combination of hamburger and fur.

An interesting statistic page 260.: "Prognosis and Fatality of perforating gunshot wounds of the abdomen regardless of the viscera involved gave a mortality of 92.5 per cent in the Crimean War; 90 per cent in our great Civil War, 69 per cent in the Franco-German War; and average of 67.1 per cent in 115 cases in the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection; and approximately 56 per cent for the Russian wounded in Manchuria”

Rosstradamus
April 9, 2010, 10:24 PM
Get US Infantry Weapons in Combat by Mark G. Goodwin (Scott A. Duff Publications, 2005) if you want to read about the personal experiences of soldiers in WW2 and Korea. For instance, Jack Walentine of the 25th Division was going down the stairs of a Korean schoolhouse and met three Chinese soldiers coming up. The bullet from his M1 went through the first two Chinese soldiers and into the third, sending all three of them tumbling down the stairs. Walentine said the third was killed by another man in his squad so I assume the first two were killed by Walentine's shot. As he said, "The power of that rifle was awesome."

If you want to know what real soldiers in real combat actually carried and what their opinions of their weapons were, this book contains about 75 oral histories, starting with Darrell "Shifty" Powers (Band of Brothers). The M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, M3 Grease Gun, BAR, M1911... they're all covered.

paintballdude902
April 9, 2010, 10:28 PM
the mini-ball was also like .69 compared to .30

HorseSoldier
April 10, 2010, 06:27 PM
I've mentioned in various threads that Bing West's book on Fallujah (No True Glory) talks about a USMC sniper who reported making a head shot on an insurgent with a 7.62mm sniper rifle who subsequently hopped back up and ran off.

As I've also mentioned in other threads as well, the Rhodesians made controlled pairs SOP for their troops using FALs because one round of 7.62x51 was not a sufficiently reliable stopper at CQB sort of ranges.

Lesson -- no such thing as a silver bullet.

Wesson Smith
April 11, 2010, 04:30 AM
Being the current owner of two rifles chambered in 30-06, and thus having witnessed the damage the round inflicts on both animate and inanimate objects, I can't fathom a human combatant ever being able to recover on the field for further action after a hit from the round. Hell, a supposedly "non-lethal" wound to say an arm or a leg is virtually guaranteed to shatter or sever the entire bone. I discussed this with my Pop who was involved in some pretty nasty fighting in the Ardennes, and if I recall correctly he indicated that if a soldier was a fair marksman, it was one shot from a Garand and that was all she wrote, pretty much every time.

ChronoCube
April 11, 2010, 05:50 AM
As I've also mentioned in other threads as well, the Rhodesians made controlled pairs SOP for their troops using FALs because one round of 7.62x51 was not a sufficiently reliable stopper at CQB sort of ranges.

Sounds like what post #8 talks about:
He mentioned that the 7.62 was more effective at longer ranges because it slowed down and dumped more energy into the target. At closer ranges it just punched through and some of the terrorists stayed active for a little bit.

rocky branch
April 11, 2010, 03:35 PM
We were trying to cut off a VC POLWAR squad and some tax collectors near Boduc dist HQ in 1968.
They left two guys to slow us down.

One popped up out of a culvert with a B40.
A kid from the local MACV team had a Garand and drilled him between his eyebrows.
Impact laid the top of his scull open and most of his brain went about 10 feet straight up and hung in a bush.
I got a pictures, but I'll never put them up.
Local kids tied ropes around their ankles and spent a few hours dragging them around like pull-toys.
They had sacrificed themselves.

gunnie
April 11, 2010, 04:48 PM
don't recall the source book, but german surgeons noted the 150gr '06 bullet was much more prone to tumble and tear up hemo-gooh than their 8mm mauser offering.

gunnie

ChronoCube
April 11, 2010, 09:40 PM
don't recall the source book, but german surgeons noted the 150gr '06 bullet was much more prone to tumble and tear up hemo-gooh than their 8mm mauser offering.

Do you know why?

The Undertaker
April 11, 2010, 11:51 PM
The American bullets are heavier in the rear. This induces yaw upon entry.

Sport45
April 12, 2010, 06:45 AM
As others have mentioned there is no magic bullet or magic firearm. If you read the stories of our Medal of Honor (http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html) recipients you'll be amazed at how many continued to fight after taking shrapnel, small arms fire, or being stitched by a machine gun.

I'm sure the hero's of our adversaries have similar tales.

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